There’s a new development in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s legal crusade against Donald Trump: a Trump employee has flipped. A staffer who held the title of director of information technology hired new legal representation and has recanted his initial grand jury testimony.
The person, identified as Yuscil Taveras, now says there was an effort to erase tapes and tamper with evidence. This latest filing relates to the third Trump indictment concerning the alleged mishandling of classified information. The 180-degree turn comes after Taveras dismissed the attorneys paid for by Trump’s political action committee (via Politico):
This is VERY BAD for Donald Trump, Walt Nauta, and Carlos DeOliveira.
— Katie Phang (@KatiePhang) August 22, 2023
A Trump employee who monitored security cameras at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate abruptly retracted his earlier grand jury testimony and implicated Trump and others in obstruction of justice just after switching from an attorney paid for by a Trump political action committee to a lawyer from the federal defender’s office in Washington, prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday.
The aide — described as “Trump Employee 4” in public court filings but identified elsewhere as Yuscil Taveras — held the title of director of information technology at Mar-a-Lago. He initially testified to a grand jury in Washington, D.C., that he was unaware of any effort to erase the videos, but after getting the new attorney “immediately … retracted his prior false testimony” and detailed the alleged effort to tamper with evidence related to the investigation of the handling of classified information stored at Trump’s Florida home, the new submission said.
Special counsel Jack Smith’s team revealed the details of the employee’s about-face as part of a filing demanded by Florida-based U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the classified records case against the former president.
She had questioned why prosecutors continued to collect evidence from a grand jury empaneled in Washington, D.C., even after Smith obtained a grand jury indictment in Florida in June charging Trump with more than 30 counts of retaining classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Trump and longtime aides Walt Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira are also charged in the case with taking steps to obstruct investigators seeking to recover the government documents.
Taveras’ reversal led directly to new charges against Trump that Smith’s prosecutors included in a superseding indictment issued by a federal grand jury in Miami last month, detailing alleged efforts to erase the security camera recordings, prosecutors said. Nauta had been charged in the initial indictment, but de Oliveira was added as a defendant only in the revised indictment.
It will get lost in all the other legal maneuvers, but Jack Smith just filed papers w/Cannon describing how Trump Employee 4 perjured himself while being represented by Nauta’s lawyer and then recanted once he had a new lawyer. Shades of Cassidy Hutchinson. pic.twitter.com/CxXvQicW3l
— scary lawyerguy (@scarylawyerguy) August 22, 2023
This about-face is not a development the Trump legal team needed, but let the liberal media will probably harp on it. The trial isn’t happening anytime soon, and it’s not like any development, in this case, that’s to Trump’s detriment, wouldn’t be treated by the press as a sign that the end is near for the former president. Again, not good news, but there are more pressing matters right now.